Commander Tsietsi Mokhele and SAMSA Development

Tsietsi Mokhele, also known as the Commander, is the CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). SAMSA was established in 1998 in terms of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act 5 of 1998 and is a South African government institution, accountable to the Minister of Transport. 


The organisation delivers four main outputs including: safety and environment protection standards for responsible maritime transport operations, infrastructure for monitoring and enforcing compliance with safety and environment protection standards, the capability to respond to marine pollution incidents and other maritime emergencies and the capability to detect, locate and rescue people in maritime distress situations. The Authority’s mandate is vast, but chief among its many duties is development.

The South African Dedicated Training Ship
The aim of the SA Agulhas, SAMSA’s training vessel, is to train young people and develop an authentic South African maritime skills development programme that produces results that will accelerate the creation of seafaring work opportunities. 

Commander Mokhele says that South Africa’s maritime industry alone has the potential to provide 400 000 jobs, with 45 000 to 50 000 seafarers alone being employed. “We are still in the development period of this industry and not yet quite in the harvesting period. In order to grow and develop, South Africa’s maritime industry needs to make considerable investments in human capacity development, that is, in the cultivation of skills and the development of capabilities,” he states.

The gap in the leader group education calls for a maritime training institute. Many new entrants struggle to reach their full potential as they lack project management, financial management and other management skills; hence training and skills-development programmes aimed at cultivating these and other necessary leadership skills are required. Some tertiary institutions are currently in partnership with SAMSA in order to address this need. The provision of targeted technical training means South Africa needs to offer the required training at different levels of education so as to provide the necessary facilities, disciplines and degrees. 

Through integration of training and upskilling across the region, SAMSA will turn to its relationships with other African nations, and this “will allow us to develop targeted training capabilities across the region, spreading the cost and developing regional centres of excellence”. Lastly, among a host of these interventions will be the expediting of transformation in the sector. “There is a lack of transformation in the industry that needs to be addressed,” he concludes.


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